Portal “rewires and connects” at the launch of its 2024 issue

An illustrated image of a woman with purple skin and blue strokes on her skin with red flowers in her hair.

Portal 2024, VIU’s full-colour magazine, is on newsstands across the country in May. Circuit Girl cover image by Jack Corfield.

April 16, 2024 - 11:45am

The magazine launches on April 26 at the Nanaimo Curling Club from 7 to 9:30 pm.

Vancouver Island University’s (VIU’s) student-run, full-colour literary magazine, Portal, celebrates the release of its 33rd annual issue. 

This year the magazine is launching at a new venue  – the upstairs lounge of the Nanaimo Curling Club, 106 Wall St. Doors open at 6:30 pm and tickets are $20, which includes a copy of the new issue. 

The evening will feature a catered reception, readings from contributors, music and the awarding of the 2024 Creative Writing department scholarships. This year’s theme builds on Jack Corfield’s striking cover artwork, Circuit Girl, a captivating portal into an issue full of speculative wonder and transformations. 

“The masthead has worked tirelessly with authors and each other to rewire and connect past, present and future in a literary circuit, just as these worlds collide on the page both visually and textually. Like the burst of fuchsia on our cover, we are confident much will bloom from what is planted here in our collective imaginations,” said Co-Managing Editor Tianna Vertigan. 

Vertigan and fellow Managing Editor Sam Bollinger will emcee the first half of the event as Portal 2024 celebrates arresting new works of fiction, poetry, non-fiction and a script as well as artwork and photography from talented visual artists. This edition also tackles contemporary issues for contributors and readers – estranged or ailing parents, mental illness, immigration, arranged marriages, disability and poverty.

“With every day bringing more news of the ongoing genocide in Palestine, we are reminded that the ability to share our stories is both a privilege and a necessary act of survival,” said Bollinger. “The 29 literary works enclosed in these pages are testimony to the power of language and prove that resiliency transcends genre, time and borders.”

Portal’s Spotlight feature shines on three writers who share memories of their home countries:

  • Kaisuan Llewellyn’s elephant ride at the zoo in Myanmar, 
  • The sounds of Afrobeat star Burna Boy for Ataene Dieyne in Nigeria, and 
  • Daniela Alejandra Guevara Sotomayor’s bubbly Carnival celebrations on the streets of Quito in Ecuador. 

Reviews and interviews with current or graduated students breaking into the industry are an inspiring addition to the 108-page magazine as Portal amplifies the most recent success stories from Creative Writing­­­ students: the publication of Amy Mattes’ novel Late September, Spenser Smith’s poetry collection A brief relief from hunger and Sabrina Voerman’s fantasy title Blood Coven

The issue also shares a fascinating interview with visiting Canadian poet Karen Solie conducted by Tara Wohlleben and Fran Pacchiano who followed Solie along “the path of the hare,” the topic of her Gustafson Distinguished Poet’s Lecture delivered on campus on March 14.     

Flynn Connolly Sifton is the winner of Portal’s Portent Contest with his short story “It Leaves an Impression,” a shocking tale of a boy who makes a head-scratching discovery during a summer of discontent. Next year’s $500 Portent Prize will be awarded for a work of poetry and is open to Canadians across the country until October 15.       

Launch tickets are $20 and include a copy of the 2024 issue. They can be purchased at the door or in advance by reaching out to Portal on FacebookInstagram and X. Follow them for sneak peeks of the cover and excerpts of non-fiction, fiction, poetry and scripts unveiled in advance. You can also email Portal’s Publisher, Joy Gugeler, at joy.gugeler@viu.ca.

“April is my favourite month of the term; it anticipates the moment we share the secret we’ve been keeping since January, unveiling a literary gift as hopeful, bright and startling as the rhododendrons and cherry blossoms that usher in this new season of talent. The scent of these blooms hangs in the air on a night when words spring eternal, as they have in Portal for more than three exuberant decades,” said Gugeler.

Issues of Portal 2024 are $12 at the launch and will be available on newsstands and at the VIU Campus Storein May.   


Media Contact:

Rachel Stern, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

C: 250.618.0373l E: Rachel.Stern@viu.ca | X: @VIUNews


The VIU community acknowledges and thanks the Snuneymuxw, Quw’utsun, Tla’amin, Snaw-naw-as and Qualicum First Nation on whose traditional lands we teach, learn, research, live and share knowledge. 

Tags: Creative Writing and Journalism | Announcements

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